UMD suspends study abroad programs in Italy as coronavirus spreads

The Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)

The University of Maryland suspended study abroad programs in Italy late Friday night as the coronavirus outbreak worsens in the country, provost Mary Ann Rankin announced in a campuswide email.

Earlier that evening, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had shifted Italy from “Alert Level 2” to “Warning Level 3” — meaning people should avoid all nonessential travel to the country. As of Friday, the country had reported 888 cases of the illness, the Associated Press reported.

[Read more: UMD suspends study abroad programs in South Korea amid coronavirus outbreak]

Worldwide, over 83,000 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in more than 50 countries, CBS News reported. As of Thursday, at least 63 people were being treated for the illness in the U.S., according to CBS News. No cases have yet to be confirmed in Maryland or at this university.

Students studying in Italy will receive guidance from this university’s Education Abroad office regarding return to the country and potential online study options, according to the email. The university requests that returning students follow CDC guidelines and self-quarantine themselves at home, away from campus, for 14 days and seek medical support and advice if needed.

[Read more: Chinese international students take precautions, face travel restrictions as virus spreads]

Friday’s announcement follows the university’s decision to suspend study abroad programs in South Korea on Wednesday and programs in China in January. The CDC also currently ranks these two countries on Warning Level 3.

Students studying abroad in Japan — currently rated by the CDC as Alert Level 2 — should look for notices from the Education Abroad office and be prepared to return to America should the country’s warning category rises to Level 3, according to the email.

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